Since it is already late May ( btw was this the nicest Memorial Day weekend in recent history or what??) and the shirts are coming off, we might as well talk about how to build your chest.
Disclaimer: Nothing, ever, anywhere works if the principles of proper nutrition and progressive overload are violated.
With that out of the way, let’s look into five points that I believe will make a difference in your appearance.
1. Make sure you are ready.
By that I mean make sure to be healthy enough to actually train your chest in terms of flexibility and rotator cuff strength. I touched upon this in an older post. Nobody can grow if injured.
2. Do floor flyes.
This is a total must-do activation exercise that needs to be done first. Put the handles at the cable as low as possible and lay on the floor. Perform a regular fly, where your upper arms touch the floor but the elbows don’t. This will ensure that you activate the pecs from the beginning. You can vary in terms of bringing the hands together over your forehead or chest. As for all chest exercises, keep the shoulder blades pinched together, do not round the shoulders as you go up. Its chest day, not shoulders.
3. Do floor presses.
Floor press is an all but forgotten exercise, but it is great for strength and mass. Set the bar at the lowest safety level at the power rack, which should be about 15-18 inches above the floor, and get under it. (If your gym doesn’t have power racks, change the gym. Seriously.) Choose a wide grip bench and press the bar from a full stop to full extension. You should treat each rep as a single, making sure you achieve a full stop at the bottom and the top.
4. Most of us should not do flat bench with the barbell!
This goes against most of the broscience out there, but I am convinced that for bodybuilding (not power lifting) the barbell flat bench is a poor choice for most trainees. It causes elbow and shoulder problems and forms a droopy chest. Then there is the whole moronic ” Whadda ya bench” non-sense, which leads to poor form and blown out elbows/torn cuffs. The reality is that the flat bench is more of a shoulder/triceps than chest exercise. The incline bench is a better choice, especially if you have long arms. With all presses, keep an inward intention and focus more on pressing yourself into the bench and have the weight go up as a result.
5. Make sure your first motion after un-racking the weight is a pullover.
Too many people bench too close to the neck which is a. Dangerous and b. Suboptimal since you can’t involve your lats. Why would I want to involve my lats? Think of the lats as springs when benching you compress them as you lower the weight and release as you move upward. A pullover will ensure proper activation of the lats.
That is all folks. As always, please share and forward!